Simple Crunchy Ranch Chicken Strips

Did you get your free Simple Recipes, Volume 1 eBook yet? You will LOVE how easy it is to put real food meals on the table. As you can tell with the Simple Garlic Shrimp recipe and now this Simple Crunchy Ranch Chicken Strips recipe – we are now well on our way to Simple Recipes, Volume 2.

Simple Recipes excitement

Let’s keep the Simple Recipes coming!

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Today I’m excited to share a recipe that has been a family favorite for several years at our house. Of course, seeing as I like everything to be simple now, I’ve pared down the steps it used to take to prepare this chicken. (Pick up one little piece of chicken. Dip the piece of chicken. Dip it again. No thank you.) C’mon. We have more important things to do with our lives…like attempting to have a Family Movie Night.

Attempting? Yes. Allow me to share a little issue I have as of late.

I can’t stay awake for a movie. Ever. It goes something like this:

  1. I get excited that our family has an actual free evening.
  2. We decide to have a movie night and discuss which movie to watch together.
  3. We make snacks and special hot drinks to enjoy while we’re watching the movie together.
  4. Everyone takes forever to actually get their food and drinks and get themselves into the living room to start the movie. (I’m always the picture of loving patience during this time.)
  5. I begin to get nervous, knowing my eyes struggle to stay open if it gets too late. HURRY EVERYONE!!! Thankfully, we’ve started the “get the movie set up and snacks on your plates” ritual at 8:00. Surely I can handle staying awake for a movie with it being so early, right? Well, one would think.
  6. We finally get situated and start the movie at 8:32.
  7. I finish my snack and fall asleep promptly at 8:47.
  8. I wake up just as the credits roll at the end.

Every. Single. Time.

It doesn’t matter what movie. It doesn’t matter what time we begin. (I know this because we tested to see if I could stay awake during an afternoon movie while drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee. I still got sleepy. You may as well ruin every movie for me by telling me who gets married and who dies and who the hero is because I may never watch an entire movie again.)

Well, anyway. The Simple Recipes and Simple Meals resources do everything they can to keep you out of the kitchen and offer you more family time. As far as staying awake during a Family Movie Night goes – you’re on your own. There’s obviously nothing I can do to help any of us with this need.

Simple Crunchy Ranch Chicken Strips

Simple Crunchy Ranch Chicken Strips
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup whole grain flour (rice, wheat, corn, etc) or crushed corn flakes
  • 3 Tablespoons Ranch Dressing Mix*
  • 1 cup melted butter, divided
Instructions
  1. Cut chicken into strips about 1 inch wide.
  2. Drizzle ½ cup melted butter into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. In a bowl, stir together parmesan cheese, flour, and ranch dressing mix.
  4. Stir in the chicken pieces until they are coated.
  5. Spread the prepared chicken pieces into the butter in the pan.
  6. Drizzle the remaining butter over the chicken.
  7. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
  8. If desired, broil chicken for about 2 minutes to crisp it up before serving.

*Here’s my Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix recipe.

Simple Crunchy Ranch Chicken

Notice the recipe offers you a “cheater” method to get these chicken pieces into a pan in a short amount of time! You can dip each piece one at a time if you want, but I simply melt the butter into the pan, stir the chicken all together in a bowl with the flour mixture, then dump it into the buttery pan. It’s so simple!

Typically I prefer chicken thighs over breasts because they are juicier and more flavorful. For this recipe though, I like chicken breasts. I also keep my eye out for mark-downs at the store on chicken breasts pre-cut into strips. It’s a time saver and the mark-down keeps the price reasonable!

‘Fess up! Can you stay awake during movies?

Here are more Simple Recipes you’ll love!

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Truly, all of these recipes are ridiculously easy, good, and nourishing.

If you haven’t joined Simple Meals yet, you are missing out on SIMPLE becoming even MORE SIMPLE! (It’s actually possible. I do the work for you.) Check it out here (and get $10 off!). Get an full Simple Meals Planning Packet in your inbox every single week!

Simple Garlic Butter Shrimp Recipe (3-Ingredients!)

It’s not that I can’t handle thawing meat ahead of time for dinner. Ok yes. That’s exactly what it is. I can’t handle thawing meat ahead of time for dinner. Or soaking beans, which is probably why I need to break down and get an Instant Pot.

I frequently rely on the “thaw meat in a tub of water” method so I can have dinner ready on time. Or I use recipes like Simple Overnight Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Roast or Simple Overnight Saucy Crock Pot Chicken that don’t require any thawing at all.

Today, I’m happy to introduce to you yet another “don’t worry about thawing the meat” recipe: Simple Garlic Butter Shrimp.

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I only buy shrimp occasionally since it’s a bit on the pricey side and I don’t have a great source for it here in Nebraska. (We’re good at raising cows and chickens here in my beloved state. Shrimp? Not so much.)

But occasionally I’ll grab a couple bags of frozen shrimp to cook for my family as a special treat. It takes no effort to make this, and it can go from freezer to skillet without a problem!

Simple Garlic Butter Shrimp

Simple Garlic Butter Shrimp Recipe (3-Ingredients!)
 
Author:
Serves: 3-5
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds raw shrimp (any size, frozen or thawed)
  • ¼-1/2 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder or freshly minced garlic
Instructions
  1. Cook ingredients together in a skillet for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Easy as that!

I usually just serve this shrimp by itself with some fruit and veggie side dishes. But if you really want to go all out, I recommend making Alfredo Sauce with Pasta to go with this Garlic Butter Shrimp. It’s amazing, plus tastier, cheaper, and healthier than what you can order in a restaurant.

Simple Garlic Butter Shrimp

Here are more Simple Recipes you’ll love!

Truly, all of these recipes are ridiculously easy, good, and nourishing.

Get all those recipes in an eBook FOR FREE when you join Simple Meals! —>

If you haven’t joined Simple Meals yet, you are missing out on SIMPLE becoming even MORE SIMPLE! (It’s actually possible. I do the work for you.) Check it out here (and get $10 off!). Get an full Simple Meals Planning Packet in your inbox every single week!

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Introducing the Very Beautiful: Simple Recipes, Volume 1 (How you can get it for FREE!)

Look what we’ve been working on!

Simple Recipes excitement

It’s a brand new eBook, full of all the Simple Recipes I’ve shared recently. It’s beautiful (thanks to my designer!). And at the risk of over-using the word simple – it simplifies the Simple Recipes you’re using to put Simple Meals on the table.

(Side note: Can we actually over-use the word simple? I don’t think so. All of us, everywhere, want our days and our lives to be as simple as possible, right?! Let us all, therefore, apply the word simple to everything we do.)

Here’s a little peek at what the pages inside this new Simple Recipes eBook look like:

simple recipes sample page

Simple Recipes, Volume 1 is filled with over 24 recipes – all of which:

  • Utilize real, whole food ingredients
  • Take only a few minutes to prepare
  • Are absolutely family friendly
  • Take the stress away from meal prep!!

Simple Recipes ebook cover

Simple Recipes, Volume 1 eBook
Simple Recipes, Volume 1 is filled with over 24 recipes - all of which utilize real, whole food ingredients, take only a few minutes to prepare, are absolutely family friendly, and take the stress away from meal prep!!
Price: $6.95

How you can get Simple Recipes, Volume 1 for FREE!

We’ve got this eBook priced with the frugal in mind – only $6.95. But if you’re a Simple Meals member, we’re adding this to your collection of the free eBooks you have access to!

HUGE PERK of being a Simple Meals member: First, we give you a $10 coupon to use on your Simple Meals purchase. Then, we give you over $60 of free recipe eBooks. Well, now you can make that $67 worth of free recipe eBooks – because our newest Simple Recipes, Volume 1 eBook will be added to your free eBook file!

Is Simple Meals worth it? I’m pretty sure I just proved it (because you get more in free product than you actually pay for your entire one-year subscription!). But more important than all the free books you get with your purchase, you get an entire year’s worth of weekly Simple Meals Plans (for less than a $1 per week, which is practically ridiculous, but true).

Also? The weekly meal plans come with bonus recipes, bonus time saving tips, a complete grocery list, gluten free adaptations, and more. EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

Please join everyone who is loving Simple Meals!! You can’t beat the price and you will be amazed about all that is included in this subscription!

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And as of today, this beautiful new Simple Recipes, Volume 1 eBook will be added to the free eBook collection for Simple Meals members. Let’s keep the simple, real food, real family recipes coming!

The Easiest Mashed Potatoes in the World! (How the crock pot can make mashed potatoes great again)

Because I work from home and we school at home, my daily commute and our trek to school are as far as walking downstairs to the kitchen from our bedrooms (uphill both ways, mind you). This also means that my work attire is typically quite casual and sometimes involves pajama pants.

It all makes sense, then, that I would run out the door to a meeting a few evenings ago where I would join many professionals who had just left their offices. They were so dressed up and looked so nice! I took a seat, looked down, and that’s when I noticed that I was still wearing my slippers.

Nailed it. But at least I had on actual pants.

I’ve gotten to the point of laughing (most of the time) about the craziness of my days – mostly because I truly do love my life – even if it is sometimes questionably insane. The “day of the slippers” I had gone from one kid to the next to the next as we tried to crank out papers and assignments for school, along with a video that was due for a church event the minute we got back from a three day out-of-state basketball tournament. Try as I might, never once was I able to sit down to even answer a work email.

The day after that was no different (except that I was still wearing those same slippers). So I’m not sure what came over me when I decided that morning to try the Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes so many of you told me about after I’d lamented that my mashed tater making days had come to an end.

They take too much time, said I. They make too much of a mess. I’ve got to keep my meals simple!!

All of this is true. After all, I don’t even have time to remember to wear shoes when I go out in public. Therefore no one should expect me to make mashed potatoes for dinner.

But since the crock pot version seemed just as simple as making baked potatoes in the crock pot – and I’ve been doing that for years – I decided to give mashed potatoes one last chance.

The easiest mashed potatoes in the world!

You guys. My children are so happy that you are in my life. They had long since forgotten that mashed potatoes were an actual thing. Imagine their faces (and their full plates) when I presented them with a crock full of beautiful, fluffy, delicious mashed potatoes THAT HAD TAKEN ALL OF 2 MINUTES TO MAKE.

The crock pot has made mashed potatoes great again.

What’s the difference in the amount of work/time/dirty dishes compared to making mashed potatoes on the stove-top? The difference for me is enormous!

When I made potatoes on the stove-top, I’d dirty a pot, and I’d almost always allow the potato water to spill over and dirty the stove-top. Then I’d transfer the cooked potatoes to a bowl and use my beaters to mash them. This means I’d dirty my counter-tops because I’m a messy cook and potatoes would fling precariously from the beaters.

I can’t even handle the memory of making mashed potatoes this way. I just had to walk away.

But here’s how to make Simple Mashed Potatoes in the Crock Pot. I do warn you ahead of time and apologize because I no longer know how to cook in small quantity. If you aren’t feeding an army of teenage boys, feel free to cut this recipe in half.

The Easiest Mashed Potatoes in the World

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Mashed Potatoes (How the crock pot can make mashed potatoes great again)
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 5 pounds potatoes (I prefer yukon gold)
  • 1 cup whole milk, half-and-half, or cream
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • ¼-1/2 cup butter
  • sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Scrub, but don't peel the potatoes
  2. Cook them in a crock pot on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5 hours.
  3. Mash soft potatoes directly in the crock with a potato masher.
  4. While mashing, dump in the milk, sour cream, butter, and salt.
  5. Continue mashing until potatoes have reached desired consistency.

How to make the easiest mashed potatoes in the worldA few extra tips: 

  • If you don’t like potato skins, peel them before baking them. Of course, this requires an extra step, takes away some nourishment, and I just can’t handle it. (The skin on yukon gold or red potatoes is much thinner and easier to eat, so I recommend sticking with those potatoes in this recipe!)
  • You don’t have to add sour cream and butter to these, but if you don’t, what even is the point of eating them??
  • These will cook faster if you cut the potatoes into chunks, but again, then we’ve added an extra step to the process which changes the name of these potatoes to “Almost the easiest mashed potatoes in the world.”

Much to my family’s delight, I have made mashed potatoes two weeks in a row after a very long mashed potato hiatus. A huge thank you to all who suggested this method!

Tell me if you’ve tried mashed potatoes this way? If you haven’t, promise me you’ll join this mashed potato party!

Simple Honey Mustard Chicken Legs

When people ask me if I have a Honey Mustard Dressing recipe, I feel kind of silly. How weird am I to answer, “Yes. I mix honey with mustard. I call it Honey Mustard.”

There’s probably a more detailed option for making Honey Mustard Dressing. But why go to the trouble to look that up when you can just mix the two ingredients together and call it a day?

Spreading my “special” honey-mustard concoction over chicken legs is ridiculously simple and tastes fantastic. So who’s up for another recipe that only takes 5-minutes to prepare?

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Simple Honey Mustard Chicken Legs

Yum

Simple Honey Mustard Chicken Legs
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds (give or take) chicken legs (or any variety of chicken pieces you like)
  • 3 Tablespoons mustard
  • 2-3 teaspoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Place chicken pieces in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and spread over the top of the chicken.
  3. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and juices run clear.

simple-honey-mustard-chicken-legs

 

Here’s a tip that works well for me: Watch for chicken pieces marked down in the meat section. I often get Smart Chicken legs for $1.49/pound as they reach their “sell by” date. I buy every package and freeze it to use in simple meals like this one. Talk about an inexpensive way to feed my family!

Here are more Simple Recipes you’ll love!

Truly, all of these recipes are ridiculously easy, good, and nourishing.

If you haven’t joined Simple Meals yet, you are missing out on SIMPLE becoming even MORE SIMPLE! (It’s actually possible. I do the work for you.) Check it out here (and get $10 off!). Get an full Simple Meals Planning Packet in your inbox every single week!

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Simple Oven Fried Chicken

Oh look. It’s another post about chicken. It’s like we just can’t get enough.

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My men-filled family loves fried chicken. Who doesn’t?

I used to stand at my electric skillet every couple of weeks frying a bunch of chicken legs, and I’d make a pot of mashed potatoes, use the chicken drippings to make gravy…oh I’d go all out. I did it because my family loved it and I love them.

It’s not that my family doesn’t still love fried chicken and it most certainly isn’t that I don’t still love my family. But at this point in my life, spending over an hour cooking one messy meal just isn’t something I can do. We’ve missed the fried chicken, for sure. But we all like it when Mama can use her nice words, so in a joint effort to keep me sane, no one has complained too much.

I finally decided to experiment with Oven Fried Chicken, though I didn’t see how it could possibly be as good as “actual” fried chicken. My family all agrees that it’s not...quite as good as actual fried chicken. But when the alternative is NO fried chicken, all six of us rally behind this and appreciate its simplicity and goodness.

Simple Oven Fried Chicken

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Oven Fried Chicken
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 8-10 bone-in chicken pieces
  • 1 cup flour (any grain you like)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon parsley flakes
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
Instructions
  1. Place butter in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Put dish in oven as it preheats to 400 degrees. The butter will melt as the oven preheats.
  3. In the meantime, mix flour, garlic powder, salt, parsley, and paprika in a gallon-sized ziplock bag. Shake to mix.
  4. Put chicken pieces into the bag, seal, and shake until the chicken is well coated.
  5. Place prepared chicken in the dish of melted butter, giving each piece plenty of space for more even cooking.
  6. Bake, uncovered, for 50 minutes, turning chicken after the first 25 minutes of bake time.

simple-oven-fried-chicken

You might be wondering, as you look at the pictures above, “WHERE are the mashed potatoes??!” Where, indeed. But we went through all this a few days ago when I admitted that I’d broken up with mashed potatoes after years of happiness. We’ve agreed to remain friends, but for now, when I make this Simple Oven Fried Chicken, I stick with simple sides that take no effort. (I mean, if I don’t have time to make fried chicken, I surely don’t have time to make mashed potatoes.)

I guess it could be said that now that I’ve discovered this Oven Fried Chicken recipe, I’ve also broken up with “real” Fried Chicken. (Don’t worry Fat Bombs. I’ll love you forever. XOXO.) But at least this Oven Fried Chicken is the next best thing so we can keep our kitchen life simple and eat our chicken too.

Here are more Simple Recipes you’ll love!

Truly, all of these recipes are ridiculously easy, good, and nourishing.

If you haven’t joined Simple Meals yet, you are missing out on SIMPLE becoming even MORE SIMPLE! (It’s actually possible. I do the work for you!) Check it out here. Get an full Simple Meals Planning Packet in your inbox every single week!

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The Simple Meals Our Family Has Been Eating This Week, Part 2

I’m assuming you downloaded your FREE Simple Meals Planning Packet this week? It is free, after all. Go get yours!

I posted earlier this week about how I’ve been using this week’s Simple Meals menu to easily get food on the table for my family. As it turns out, I used half the plan last week and am finishing it up this week. (Perks of being the one who creates the menu plans – I got to start using it ahead of time!) If you missed it, check out this post which shares pictures of the first few meals in the plan.

Here we go with Days 5 and 6 of following the Simple Meals plan!

Day 5: Crock Pot NightSimple Overnight Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Roast

To kick-start a new week, on Sunday night, right before I headed to bed, I put together the Simple Overnight Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Roast. For the record, if you forget to start that recipe at night before bed (because at the end of the day, some of us who shall remain nameless might be too tired to remember to execute good plans like this), you can always start it early in the morning to have it ready in the evening in time for dinner.

I was very proud of myself for remembering to start the roast on Sunday night, and woke up the next morning to the delicious smell of our lunch. I turned the crock pot to “keep warm” setting and at lunch time I stir-fried some veggies to go with our meal. (We have been having our main meals at lunchtime lately because it’s working better with our busy evening activities schedule.)

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I got this fun note from Susan last week about the Simple Overnight Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Roast recipe and wanted to share!

Thank you so much for sharing this common recipe. I mean, who hasn’t already made a roast in the crockpot before? But your tips were amazing. And I didn’t know I could put it in the crock without first browning it in a pan (this always felt like so much trouble, and would discourage me from making this dish when I was in a hurry). And Frozen!  Are you kidding me? Well – I did it – just like you suggested. Cooked on low for 12 hours, and it was the best tasting, most tender roast beef I’ve ever made. Oh, and I cooked carrots in the bottom, and their flavor was wonderful. Thank you again.

Fun, huh? Thanks, Susan. This is what Simple Meals is all about!

Day 6: No Trouble NightSimple Pizza Chicken Bake

The final meal on this week’s Simple Meals menu was Simple Pizza Chicken Bake. I could go on and on about how easy this recipe is to make and how very delicious it is to eat. I served it with green beans and tossed salad, so as always, this went on the table very quickly.

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Hopefully you enjoyed the free Simple Meals Planning Packet!

I’d love all of you to take advantage of the Simple Meals Subscription offer! Just think. A complete menu plan and grocery list will land in your inbox every single week, along with a bunch of bonus tips and recipes. Your small investment (which we promise to make very, very worth it) will save you so much time, energy, and money every week! You won’t have to think about what to cook. Bliss. And the meal suggestions are incredibly simple, yet detailed to make everything easy for you.

Don’t forget there’s a $10 off coupon waiting for you here, plus over $60 worth of freebies that are yours after your purchase. That means you get more in freebies than the cost of your entire yearly subscription. Score!

Simple Meals is a ridiculously good offer. (We made it super affordable for all! Less than $1 per week!) Can’t wait to have you join us!

Join Simple Meals Here.

The Simple Meals Our Family Has Been Eating This Week, Part 1

Ready to see how our family has been using Simple Meals this week to eat well and save time?

I’m pretty sure that when you look at these pictures of our meals, you’ll say, “Hm. That’s it?” and the answer is, “Yep. Pretty much.” (That’s why it’s called simple.)

So first things first, did you download your FREE Simple Meals Planning Packet this week? I’m throwing them out to everyone, just this once. Go get yours and use it to put great, real food meals on the table while enjoying more family time!

I cheated just a little bit and started using this menu plan last week. That has made it a little easier to pictures to share with you this week. So once I had the entire packet completed and ready to send to our Simple Meals subscribers, I printed off the Simple Meal Plan page.

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I looked at the menu options, I looked at my calendar, and I started to figure out which meal would be best for each day of the week. I know the picture of the document is a little hard to see, so let me type out the headings on the plan. This is what every Simple Meals plan includes, and it is my favorite feature!!

  • No Thaw Night
  • Crock Pot Night
  • Make-Ahead Night
  • No Trouble Night
  • Build it Yourself Night
  • Savor it Night

See why I love this? I can look ahead at my week and see the days I will likely be very limited on time. I’ll select those days for the “No Thaw” or “No Trouble” option. We only had one day we were planning to be home all day, so I chose that day for our “Savor it” meal.

Two Things:

  1. I needed to keep the meal plan flexible, so I only penciled in a day of the week for each meal so I could switch it out if I needed to.
  2. I made most of these meals at lunchtime instead of in the evening. We had a busier-than-normal week, and all of our evenings were spent away from home. Therefore, I made our main meals at lunchtime; then at dinner time we warmed up leftovers or threw together something fast before running out the door (and usually ate more late at night when we got home, because we eat all the live-long day.)

Here’s what I’ve captured on camera so far. I’ll share about the other two meals later this week!

Day 1: Make-Ahead Night: Taco Rice Dinner

I doubled this recipe, and while I hadn’t had time to make it ahead, I did make it in the morning while we were eating breakfast. That way all I had to do at meal time was rewarm it. As you can see, I cut up a cantaloupe and threw out our containers of spinach and mixed greens, along with a jar of Homemade Ranch Dressing. Boom. The meal is served.

P.S. I followed the advice in the Simple Meals Bonus Tips section which suggested that while I cooked the ground beef for this meal I should also cook the ground beef for Simple Skillet Taco Pasta. That worked great, and I transferred that cooked meat to the fridge for our “Savor It” day.

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Day 2: No Thaw Night: Last Minute Lentil Chili

The following day, we had plans to help our disabled friend move across town to a different apartment. Plus we had basketball games that evening. Knowing we would be gone most of the day, I made a pot of Last Minute Lentil Chili in the morning before we left. I was SO glad I did! We weren’t able to stop for a lunch break until almost 2:00 and we didn’t have much time to eat. We ran home for a quick bite, inviting our new friends we’d met who were also helping with the move. I warmed up the chili and yesterday’s Taco Rice Dinner leftovers (since we had extras to feed). We quickly opened a can of chilled pineapple and a can of olives and called it a meal. It wasn’t fancy, but we were too hungry to care. :)

simple meals feb 2

Day 3: Savor It Night: Simple Skillet Taco Pasta

How fun that I ended up making this the day Asa, our college son, showed up at the house needing to pick up a few things! He hadn’t eaten yet, so he got to sit down with us and “savor” the meal. Of course, we got to savor time with him, a win-win.

This meal was very easy to put together because I’d already cooked the meat earlier in the week when I’d made the Taco Rice Dinner. I steamed some green beans, then washed and capped some strawberries. Simple and delicious!

P.S. Had I known Asa was going to come for lunch, I would have doubled this. ;) As it turned out, I just skipped it and ate something else so there would be plenty for the fam. I don’t eat much pasta anyway. :)

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Day 4: Build it Yourself Night: Chef Salads

This is the day we were getting our house ready to host a bunch of teenage boys over the weekend for our annual church youth rally. I didn’t have time to cook, but I did want to get some good nourishment in all of us as I knew we’d be eating a lot of compromise food over the weekend. It was the perfect day for everyone to build their own chef salads!

Thankfully, I already had some bacon bits made and cheese shredded. I got out the mixed greens and spinach, sliced some red pepper, washed tomatoes, and got out the Ranch Dressing (then made more since I saw we were almost out!). I washed and capped some strawberries and called everyone in to build a salad for lunch. Easy, delicious, nourishing, simple!

simple meals feb4

 

Stay tuned for how I used the rest of the Simple Meals plan. Be sure to get your FREE plan here!

Did you download yours? How’s it been going as you put it to use?

Today I Give a FREE New Simple Meals Plan to Everyone!

This week is going to be a fun one, and here’s why:

I’m giving everyone this week’s Simple Meals plan for FREE!

(Also, I’m going to blog this week about how I’m using the plan. Stay tuned!)

Why am I giving this week’s plan to you? Simple. I want you to see how great it is.

My biggest goal with Simple Meals is to help you save money, time, and energy so you can enjoy spending more time with your family. Did you catch that? It’s not just about spending more time with your family. It’s to help you ENJOY spending that time with your family.

Sometimes we get to the end of the day and we’re so exhausted that even if there is time to spend, we’re too tired to enjoy it. Been there, done that? Me too.

Each week Simple Meals plans show up in your inbox as if to say, “Here you go. Your thinking, planning, and list making have been done. Also, here are some bonus recipes and time-saving tips. You will love this week’s recipes. Now go enjoy your family.”

I'm giving everyone this week's Simple Meals plan for FREE!

I’m giving you all this week’s Simple Meals Planning Packet because want everyone to see why being a part of Simple Meals is worth it! Also, I love you and it’s fun to give you free stuff. :)

So here you go.

Download this week’s Simple Meals Planning Packet.

I’ve been cooking with this particular plan and taking pictures to show you during the next few days to detail how this plan works for our family. I don’t know what I would do without it, seeing as in the past eight nights in a row, we have been on the run – from meetings to Bible studies to basketball games to church activities. Plus, we spent a day helping our disabled friend move across town, I had appointments out of town one day, and our church hosted 150 kids for a youth rally all weekend, 13 of which stayed in our home for two nights.

This mama needs Simple Meals. (and a nap.)

The days with our children at home are long, but the years are short. I’m staring that reality straight in the face as my kids so suddenly have been turning into men, one right after the other. I want to enjoy putting food on the table for them, but more than that, I want to enjoy laughing at their jokes and listening/watching/cheering/praying for their work and activities and life journeys.

No matter your season in life, whether you have little bitties who require a lot of attention and care, or you have big kids you’re trying to keep up with, or you work full time, or you homeschool, or you are involved with ministries, or all of the above and more than the above – let’s do what we can to enjoy what God has given us. I believe much of this begins with keep our real food meals as simple as possible.

And that, my friends, is why I created Simple Meals.

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Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta

I’m a big believer in this: If my kids are capable of doing it, I ask them do it.

How else will they learn to clean, cook, think, be responsible, work hard, and take care of me in my old age?

That’s why I asked Malachi, our 12-year old, to put this meal together one morning. Knowing it was as easy as “dump these ingredients into the crock pot, stir it up, turn it on, then run do your math lesson” it seemed like the right thing to do. He’s learning that cooking is simple, I’m getting help around the house, and it’s amazing how cooking a meal by himself makes him stand a few inches taller while everyone eats it up with many, “Wow, this is so good” compliments.

Or maybe the kid is literally growing taller. Well yeah. But we already knew that.

crock pot pasta2

Here’s my little issue with crock pot meals that include pasta: If I have to cook the pasta ahead of time before adding it to the crock pot, what even is the point in using the crock pot? How does that save any time? It certainly dirties up more dishes. I am not okay with this.

Therefore I never make pasta dishes in the crock pot. (Nor do I have my children make them.)

But recently I did a little looking online to see how it might work to dump uncooked pasta into a crock pot. Might it cook along with the other ingredients? A little experimenting turned out this Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta recipe, which is as easy as can be.

Now, this is a meatless meal. You’re more than welcome to stir cooked hamburger or cooked chicken into your crock pot. But then, of course, you’d have to cook the meat first, which means dirtying up another dish, and I refuse to take responsibility for making you do that. Also, you should know that my family full of carnivores ate this and never once asked, “Hey. Where’s the meat?” I think the three cheeses in this recipe make this hearty enough to keep everyone happy.

Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta

Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce (25-32 ounces each)
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella, cheddar, or Colby jack cheese
  • 1 pound UNCOOKED whole grain pasta, any shape
  • Sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Dump all ingredients into a crock pot and stir well.
  2. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours or until pasta is tender.

Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta

Serve this easy crock pot dish with a quick salad and steamed veggie. It’s as simple as can be. I don’t think I need to tell you that it’s delicious. This is a given. And now we know that we can dump uncooked pasta into the crock pot and turn out a great meal in just a few of effortless hours.

Here are more Simple Recipes you’ll love!

We’d love more of you to join Simple Meals! There are some exciting plans coming up!

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